TOP trainer Jenny Hunt has been slapped with an 18 month ban, after a greyhound she trained tested positive to the drug ‘ice’ at a meeting in January.
The drug, more commonly known for its debilitating affect on people, was found in a post-race swab on Jubilea Bale, following a heat of the Warragul Cup on January 17.
After a lengthy stewards investigation, Hunt was charged with failing to present a greyhound free of any prohibited substance, which she was subsequently found guilty of by the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board on Wednesday night.
GRV Chairman, Ray Gunston said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to the use of prohibited substances in greyhound racing, it is plain and simple,” he said.
“Trust in the integrity of our racing product is of paramount importance to GRV and we will continue to work to identify and prosecute those within the industry that don’t play by the rules.
“We acknowledge the 18-month disqualification period handed down by the independent RADB.
“The independent RADB is currently guided by precedent and in understanding this we can see why the disqualification period was 18 months.”
A week ago Hunt transferred the greyhound she trained to Nicole Davis and Thomas Mitchell, a move sure to draw the ire of commentators after this became common practice for under-siege trainers during the live baiting scandal.
Hunt then pleaded not guilty to the charges at the RADB hearing, with a number of witnesses vouching for her character.
But Gunston said the serious nature of the charges and the fact it was a drug-related offence had forced the disciplinary board’s hand, resulting in an 18 month ban.
“As a board we are committed to working toward tougher penalties for all drug offences especially for a drug as insidious as ice,” he said.
Mr Gunston also commented on the time it took from the recording of the positive swab to the conclusion of the matter.
“It needs to be understood that Stewards act with all due process and, in some matters, this requires time to properly progress through each aspect of the case,” he said.
“There has been feedback regarding the length of time it has taken for this matter to get to this point and we accept that feedback but we won’t compromise the rigor with which we undertake investigations for the sake of expediency. We want to ensure we get the outcomes we’re after.”
Hunt has a right of appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.